My mistake: not my story

Taking a few days off turned into too many days off.  I made the mistake of knowing – knowing – how I wanted “Empress’ Crusade” to finish.  It was well into day four that I realized that so long as I wasn’t listening to my characters, they had no reason to talk to me.

So, I set aside a few days to make notes, look at maps, and keep my mental mouth shut.  At DayJob over this past weekend, the film in my mental theater started rolling again.  More notes.  Off today and tomorrow, I was up early, caffeinated, and typing by 0930.  Put down over 3000 words today.  Admittedly, it is a little like I think I saw it (the Fort Benning/Atlanta story arc), but Faustina is already off on a huge tangent and we just met her new nephew, Roland.  Henge is nursing him but turned him around for a moment to show his silver eyes.  Yep:  another demi-human.

Things are winding down this afternoon.  I’m to-bed early to make another early start tomorrow.  Lessons in humility are necessary from time to time.

End. Middle. Begin.

The design contest for the cover of my short story collection, “Empire’s Agent” is complete.  I hope to have a proof copy in my hands in less than a week and a commercial release days after that.

At 57k words I have passed the MS of “American Imperium: Princess’ Crusade” onto one of my new copyeditors.  He’s a little spastic about “?!” punctuation but I like the cut of his jib.  Once “Empire’s Agent” is loose in the wild I shall likely begin another cover design contest.  Tricky:  the main character, 18-year old Faustina, spends half the book in a hospital bed with 2nd degree burns and no hair.  Not the stuff for an eye-catching cover, is it?

And… speaking of Faustina:  if there’s a part one, there better be a part two.  Below the fold is the opening scene of “American Imperium:  Empress’ Crusade.”  Faustina is utterly full of herself and as arrogant “af” – as the kids say.  I wanted to start things slow and humble.  I have tiny, faint glimpses of where she might be going, but I won’t know until she gets there.  Enjoy the ride with me!

Continue reading “End. Middle. Begin.”

Short End

Been chewing on the legionary awards ceremony for days.  This morning – sober, even! – I saw the answer:  my typical terse style.  Rather than put the reader through the hundred or so men coming forward for awards and promotions, all that happens “off stage” as it were.  What we see is Faustina’s address, where she at last pulls back the curtain on what sort of political arrangement she has in mind for the territory she considers to be her own by right of conquest.  This is going to have ramification back in Knoxville I cannot begin to see.

This marks the end of the raw manuscript that will either be Part One or Book One, at just over 56k words.  Right now I must devote the coming weekend to implementing the copyedit changes proposed by Stephen Zimmer for my short story collection.  And it still needs a cover.  Busy, busy…

Continue reading “Short End”

Family Dinner

If there’s one thing I love to write, it’s people talking.  And there’s no better place to talk than around the dinner table.  This is, obviously, a calm before the storm of war.  Before Faustina leads her legions over the mountains and against a professional military of the world’s last superpower.

Continue reading “Family Dinner”

A Question of fire

Part Two is all about Faustina’s crusade to take Savannah, the deep-water port of former Georgia, off the occupying Chinese and hand it on a platter to the resurgent city-states of the Tennessee River Valley.

Me being me, not doing “action” well, most of it will be about the people and their relationships.  In this case, we start off with the government of Knoxville defining their problem and facing up to the only solution:  the use of force.  The fact that a demi-human girl has a near monopoly on said force is another thing entirely.

As you can tell from my posting, I was lost for days about one simple question:  how is Faustina paying for all this?  No matter what they feel for her, troops expect to be paid and weapons cost money… a lot of money.  Until I had that answer given to me – and when it happened at DayJob on Monday and I burst out laughing (confirming their suspicions that I’m mental) – I could not write a word.  Here’s half of what I laid down.  More tonight or tomorrow!

Continue reading “A Question of fire”

Crusade, Part 1, Sunset

I kinda/sorta knew where and how to wrap up part 1 but the details eluded me for a couple of days.  I was able to make some notes yesterday and had a final image early this morning to bring my “prologue” to an end.  My 13.8k prologue…

From first meeting her in “Worlds Without End” I knew Faustina was going to be a very interesting person and all this has confirmed my suspicions.  Part 2 will be about her Savannah campaign – what prompted it, how she got involved, the way south, and the battle and aftermath.

Little Aurelia in this installment just handed me the arc of part 3:  a campaign to the lower Mississippi:  not bringing nuclear power and civilization like the early Knoxville Society did in “Echoes of Family Lost,” but a straight-up neo-imperial effort to establish colonies and client-kingdoms between former eastern Tennessee and the Republic of Texas.

Depending on the length of all that, part 4 will either be an epilogue pointing to a sequel or it will make this one of my longest works as Faustina leads an army to St. Louis… and the massive political-military ramifications of such an act.  Yeah… that might best be its own book… The Black Muslim Brotherhood that controls that area; the remnants of central Canadians coming south, fleeing the advancing ice…  Complicated.

Continue reading “Crusade, Part 1, Sunset”